News Wrap

IN THIS wrap: $A1.5 billion MRRT tax shortfall sinks surplus hope; future of thermal coal cools; and mining mergers fall into a hole.
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Lou Caruana

$1.5B MRRT tax shortfall sinks surplus hope

The mining industry says the federal government should have expected the proceeds from the mining tax to be highly volatile, with an estimate by Deloitte Access Economics suggesting it will add no more than a net $500 million to the budget bottom line this year, according to The Australian.

This represents a $1.5 billion hole in the budget from the mining tax alone - enough to wipe out the Gillard government's promised 2012-13 surplus of $1.1 billion. It was revealed last month that none of the major resources companies had paid mining tax in the first three months of this financial year.

Future of thermal coal cools

BHP Billiton ferrous and coal head Marcus Randolph warns that the outlook for thermal coal is “very clouded” over the long term as countries look to reduce their carbon emissions and shale gas usage expands globally, according to the

Australian Financial Review.

Randolph said coal-fired power stations would continue to be built in developing countries in the short term because they were cost-effective.

“But the flip of that is the longer-term story,” he said. “In a carbon constrained world, where energy coal is the biggest contributor to a carbon problem, how do you think this is going to evolve over a 30-40 year time horizon? You’d have to look at that and say on balance, I suspect, the usage of thermal coal is going to decline. And frankly, it should.”

Mining mergers fall into a hole

Australian mining deal flows have slumped this year as a slowdown in China and uncertainty in the developed world hit the confidence of potential buyers, according to The Australian.

Reports by Ernst & Young and PwC show deal values fell by up to 50% in the first nine months of the year, although PwC said there had been a pick-up in recent months.

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